A CULINARY wizard who learnt his craft at Huddersfield Technical College is battling for honours in a TV cookery contest.

Tony Flinn, 27, is fighting to represent the north of England in a new BBC series – Great British Menu.

And his innovative style is attracting plenty of support as the challenge enters its final day today.

Flinn has been seen every night this week on BBC 2 competing for the opportunity to cook a fantastic four-course dinner at the restaurant at the top of the iconic Gherkin building in London.

Liverpool-born Flinn has been head chef at Anthony's Restaurant in Leeds since March 2004. His passion is for modern British food and in pushing as many culinary boundaries as he can.

He began his professional career at Huddersfield Technical College but went on to work at some of the world’s top restaurants.

Flinn studied at the College from 1996 until 1999. He began on the NVQ Level 2 Craft Catering course and progressed onto the NVQ Level 3 Advanced Culinary Diploma and NVQ Level 3 Patisserie courses.

He said: “I first got into cooking at school and decided from an early age that I wanted to be a chef. At 14 I started with Saturday jobs on low pay in hotel kitchens. I decided I’d better do it properly so enrolled at Huddersfield Technical College.

“The college was a fantastic starting point for my career. The courses taught me a lot and the skills I learnt gave me a solid grounding to base my dream on.

“I loved the buzz you got from working in the college’s kitchens. I was able to develop my skills and learnt to work under pressure without losing my creativity. Without the college I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Since he opened his restaurant in Spring 2004, working alongside his girlfriend, sister and father, Anthony's has established itself as one of the most exciting new restaurants in the country.

Flinn has also received a cluster of prestigious restaurant industry awards. He admits he got his inspiration from El Bulli in Barcelona, voted the best and most creative restaurant in the world by many respected catering institutions, where he cooked for two years.

He uses an unusual style of cooking that combines traditional kitchen skills with scientific principles, the method is better known as molecular gastronomy.

The TV series kicked off with seven special programmes in which Great British Menu judge, Matthew Fort, travelled around the UK, selecting the two chefs who'd go through to represent their region in the competition.

Sourcing the best ingredients from their local area, the chefs are creating a starter, a fish course, a meat course and a dessert that they believe truly epitomises the very best of contemporary, cutting-edge, British cooking.